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Duke in 7th-place tie after ACC's 1st day

The Duke women's swimming and diving team had a record-setting day at the ACC Championships yesterday, but still failed to place in either of their two events and finished the first day of the four day event in tie for seventh place at the University of Maryland.

Senior Katie Ness followed up her strong performance in the 800-yard freestyle relay when she teamed up with fellow seniors Nora Stupp and Julia Lewis and sophomore Danielle Spearman to set a Duke record in the 200-yard medley relay. It was the second year in a row that the Blue Devils had set a school record in that event at the ACC championships.

"We just had some great splits in that relay," head coach Dan Colella said. "It was a very exciting way to finish up the evening."

Ness swam a career-best time in the race to help her squad finish second in their heat and eighth overall.

In the first event of the competition-the 800-yard freestyle relay-the Blue Devils smashed their season-best time by three seconds, finishing in 7:33.68. Ness, swimming anchor for Duke, gave the Georgia Tech foursome a run for its money but finished .43 seconds behind, in ninth place overall.

Despite their season-best performance, however, Colella was not satisfied with his freestyle swimmers' efforts.

"The 800 relay was a little disappointing," Colella said. "We got off to a shaky start-perhaps some first-swim jitters, a little anxiety."

Duke currently ranks in seventh place in an 11-team field after the first two events of the meet.

The championship continues tomorrow with the 500 freestyle, 200 Individual Medley, 50 freestyle and one-meter diving events in which Duke will attempt to better its ninth-place finish from a year ago.

"We are looking good, relaxed, confident and are in for some good swimming," Colella said. "We have the potential. It's in the hands of the young ladies to step it up and swim. We've got to be ready to go. Tomorrow should be a good day."

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